For Deborah Roberts, Eurocentric beauty ideals and norms that privilege white female idealism cannot simply be upended by a one-to-one reversal; rather, placing a black girl or woman at the center does not subject her to new beauty ideal, or a clean slate, if you will, by confronting it head-on. Referencing Dada methods, Roberts’ work encompasses mixed-media painting, installation, and collage. She grapples with the lineage of black female bodies that have long been subject to hypersexualization and objectification, which are further underscored by her methods of collage or mixed-media paintings. In an ongoing motif, black female figures are cut and snipped, with horrifying appendages attached, to cobble together a Frankenstein-esque figure that undermines the deep-seated lineage and portrayals of women of color in American history. With the insidious ways in which companies and media stereotypes still perpetuate these norms, there’s never a lack of source material for her to examine, glorify, and undercut notions of “standard” beauty.


Roberts completed her MFA from Syracuse and has also studied at San Francisco Art Institute; San Francisco, CA, Pont-Aven School of Contemporary Art, and the University of North Texas, Denton Texas. She currently works and lives in …


of Austin, Texas. She has been granted the Ginsberg- Klaus Award Fellowship, Presidential Point of Light Award, Syracuse University Graduate Fellow Award, among others, with recent shows at Volta NY and The Drawing Center Viewing Program NY.

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